As a father of three young girls I am concerned about how our culture fills their minds with unhealthy comparisons, in particular when it comes to their body image. Each of them is different and beautiful. I try to tell them this as often as I can and I do worry some about the next decade as they step into the Tween age and beyond. I would like to blame the clothing designers and their unrealistic portrayal of a “healthy” female body. I would like to blame a lot of companies and their ad campaigns. I’d like to, but I won’t. These corporations understand something about us that we don’t always acknowledge. Our problem is not the product or the advertisement, but our submission to the Spirit of comparison.
We compare ourselves all the time to others which often results in negative or distorted images of ourselves.
Before I go much further I have to say that when I really thought about this I came to the conclusion that this is not just a problem for women, but for all of humanity. It may come in different forms or be focused on different things, but we all wrestle with it.
For example, we can say; “I don’t think I am such a bad person. In fact compared to Joe I’m a regular saint!”
“Hey, you know I am not that unhealthy, in fact compared to most people I think I am doing alright.”
Both of these seem harmless, but can over time distort our point of view of ourselves. Sometimes in very unhealthy ways.
How do we overcome this problem?
First off we have to own that we do it. That is different that being indifferent to the fact that we do it. When we own it we are admitting it and there is the opportunity to change. This was part of Adam and Eve’s downfall in the garden of Eden. Sure they ate the forbidden fruit, but you notice how they respond to God confronting them?
Adam: I did eat it, but it was Eve who gave me the fruit and you gave me Eve.
Eve: I did nothing more than follow the advice of the serpent, he tricked me.
Whenever we try to justify what we have done it only masks the problem. Comparison is not a good thing.
Secondly, when we catch ourselves in the act of comparison we need to counter it with remembering how God sees us. We know that when we compare we are hiding from what we really are and we were to stop there then we could land ourselves in a whole world of trouble emotionally speaking. Thankfully, God does not see us that way, nor does God leave us in that raw state of complete personal awareness. Why?
When Jesus was sent into this life, he walked the valleys and mountain tops of this crooked world to end up being found blameless before the powers of the world at that time and God. He then willfully submitted himself to torture and execution for our benefit. He was placed, dead, in the cave and the stone was rolled in front of it. Three days later he was raised from the dead and is now seated at the right of God.
Now, when we go to God in our raw and fully self-aware state of being God lifts our heads and looks us in our eyes and says; “I know, I took care of it and now all I see is my beloved child!”
If you really struggle with comparison and loving the body you have please know that I am praying for you. May God lift your head and may you hear “All I see is my beloved child!”